In our move, I traded a super convenient two block walk to work for a 4 mile commute. On my two block walk I rarely passed anyone, saw little wildlife other than birds and barely had time to wake up, but it was easy! Monday, I bike commuted and everything changed. I admit, I was uneasy about it. It was only my third time on a bike this year. Plus, there was figuring out all the stuff I’d need to shower and change at work (thankfully, we have a shower there). Packing it into borrowed panniers. And big uncertainty about the serious hills involved. Within the first 200 yards, I saw a deer standing on my side of the road. I veered over to the other side so as not to have a freaky deer/bike collision before I even got started. She never moved, just stared at me the whole way by. The urban deer around here are nothing to mess with. Going up the first small hill felt tougher than expected and then I realized I hadn’t downshifted all the way. I met an experienced bike-commuting coworker at about 1 mile in and we started down a really big hill. I was in the lead and didn’t want to seem wimpy so I let myself pick up speed even though the shoulder was non-existent and traffic was steady (don’t worry Mom and Dad, I used my brakes). Going up the first significant hill my breathing was the only thing racing. I felt like I might fall over from moving so slow and as I struggled with the shifters, shifting too many gears at once, my chain feel off the gear. This is where having social support on the first day of any new endeavor is a good idea. He had it back on before I could catch my breath again (granted, it took awhile to catch my breath). We made a couple of turns into the development where we work and when we were a long block from work there was a final steep hill. “Serpentine,” he said. “It helps with these steep hills.” It felt really silly climbing slowly up the hill by veering back and forth, but it worked. Anyway…I made it in and felt like I was starting Monday morning with a big victory under my belt. I texted my husband to let him know I survived (he was happy about that) and carried my helmet around all day to show off (not really, but I did consider it). The ride home was a little easier. Maybe I was less nervous.
Today, I bike commuted in again and this time no deer or chain problems but my legs were definitely sore. All things work together for good, though. We had rain all afternoon so I left my bike at work and carpooled home with a different coworker. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to try a running commute. It’ll be a little different carrying a bag with work clothes while I run…but I’ve read about others doing it so I’m going to try. I may bike home. I’m playing it by ear. It’s not as simple as a two block walk, but there’s definitely more adventure in it.